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2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI First Impressions

Napa Valley, CA - Somewhere nestled in the midst of sweeping vineyards beneath the bright blue California sky I was offered the keys to a car not yet available on North American soil: a 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI.

Some may view this as boring, but it’s a bit of a big deal. The all-new Golf 7 caused quite a stir last year when it launched at the 2012 Paris Auto Show, and with good reason. The Golf is Volkswagen’s iconic model, and the new design (both inside and out) had everyone talking in a good way.

Well, I got a chance to pilot the diesel version of the hot hatch and, as I traversed the winding roads of Napa wine country, I came to understand the excitement about this little vehicle a little better.

What is a 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI?
A better question might be: What is the Golf Mk7? Well, it’s the seventh generation of a car that’s been around since the mid-‘70s. It’s also been known as the Rabbit in North America and as the Caribe in Mexico.

The Golf is Volkswagen’s best-selling model (hitting that record in 2002), and the second best-selling model in the world (behind the Toyota Corolla) with 29 million units sold as of 2012.

This hot hatch has been available in many forms over the years from 3-doors to 5-doors, sporty R versions, the GTI and, of course, the TDI.

2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI Price and Specs
Unfortunately, pricing was not available to me at the time of the drive, and since I was driving a European-spec model we may not see the exact car I drove. However, it’s safe to say that the interior and exterior look will remain, as will the TDI engine.

Equipped with a 2.0L inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine, the 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI produces 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of glorious diesel-powered torque. The pull this little hatch has is quite impressive and makes the drive oh-so fun (but I’ll get to that in a moment). Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the 2014 VW Golf TDI can feel quite sporty when driven hard.

Fuel efficiency numbers are rated in the 57 MPG range according to Volkswagen, which makes the 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI enjoyable and easy on the wallet. What more could you ask for?

Driving the 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI
Ah, yes, the drive. Well, for starters, turning on the 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI doesn’t make one think of tractors on a farm. The diesel unit under the hood creates a bit of a noise, but nothing intrusive or obnoxious. With the windows down to let in the Californian breeze, I quickly forgot I was driving the TDI, until I pressed the throttle.

Torque from the 2.0L unit is immediately apparent and quite enjoyable to say the least. Gears are easily swapped and the throws are short. The 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI revs happily and can be pushed to the brink of redline pretty quickly, which only makes the drive more invigorating in my opinion.

Steering is nimble and effortless, and the 2014 VW Golf TDI felt steady on its 17” wheels, even on twistier patches of tarmac. I did wish for a bit more bite from the steering at times, but then that’s up to the GTI (which I happily jumped into shortly after). The Golf TDI is a happy slalom tackler, regardless.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI
If nothing else, the new 2014 VW Golf TDI is a sharp-looking hatch. Cleaner lines, a more angular front end, and a subtle hint of sportiness all come together in this tight little package. Equipped with five doors, the new Golf TDI also ends up being quite practical and user-friendly.

While it might be hard to distinguish immediate changes from the outside, step inside the 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI and you’ll recognize the differences right away. The middle console absolutely screams Audi in a sleek, sophisticated way, with flat navigation buttons on either side of the touchscreen as well as buttons lining the shift lever.

Visibility is great in the 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI thanks to the driving position and large windows. I found myself settling into the Golf TDI easily with little readjustment needed.

Comparing the 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI
When it comes to being the best hot hatch, Volkswagen now has its work cut out for it with the likes of the Ford Focus, MINI Cooper and Fiat 500 nipping at its heels. However, in terms of hot hatches with diesel, VW has pretty much got the market on that one unless it wants to compete with its own company in the Audi A3 Sportback.

 

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